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G.R. No.

L-14534 February 28, 1962


MERARDO L. ZAPANTA, petitioner, vs. THE HON. AGUSTIN P. MONTESA, ETC., ET
AL., respondents.

Facts: This is a petition for prohibition filed by Merardo L. Zapanta to enjoin the Hon. Agustin
P. Montesa, Judge of the Court of First Instance of Bulacan from proceeding with the trial of
Criminal Case No. 3405 pending the final determination of Civil Case No. 1446 of the Court of
First Instance of Pampanga.

Upon complaint filed by respondent Olimpia A. Yco on May 20, 1958, an information for
Bigamy was filed by Fernando A. Cruz, Provincial Fiscal of Bulacan (Criminal Case No. 3405),
against Merardo L. Zapanta, in the Court of First Instance of Bulacan, alleging that the latter,
having previously married one EstrellaGuarin, and without having dissolved said marriage,
contracted a second marriage with the complainant Olimpia A. Yco.

On June 16, 1958, Zapanta filed in the Court of First Instance of Pampanga a civil case (Civil
Case No. 1446) against respondent Olimpia A. Yco for the annulment of their marriage on the
ground of duress, force and intimidation. On the 30th of the same month respondent Yco, as
defendant in said case, filed a motion to dismiss the complaint upon the ground that it stated no
cause of action, but the same was denied on July 7 of the same year.

On September 2, 1958, Zapanta, in turn, filed a motion in the criminal case against him to
suspend proceedings therein, on the ground that the determination of the issue involved in Civil
Case No. 1446 of the Court of First Instance of Pampanga was a prejudicial question. Judge
Montesa denied the motion on September 20, 1958 as well as petitioner's motion for
reconsideration, and ordered his arraignment. After entering a plea of not guilty, petitioner filed
the present action.

Issue: Whether or not the action for annulment of marriage is a prejudicial question to the charge
of bigamy.

Held: Yes. A prejudicial question is that which arises in a case, the resolution of which is a
logical antecedent of the issue involved therein, and the cognizance of which pertains to another
tribunal (People vs. Aragon, G.R. No. L-5930, February 17, 1954). The prejudicial question must
be determinative of the case before the court, and jurisdiction to try the same must be lodged in
another court (People vs. Aragon, supra). These requisites are present in the case at bar. Should
the question for annulment of the second marriage pending in the Court of First Instance of
Pampanga prosper on the ground that, according to the evidence, petitioner's consent thereto was
obtained by means of duress, force and intimidation, it is obvious that his act was involuntary
and cannot be the basis of his conviction for the crime of bigamy with which he was charged in
the Court of First Instance of Bulacan. Thus, the issue involved in the action for the annulment of
the second marriage is determinative of petitioner's guilt or innocence of the crime of bigamy.
On the other hand, there can be no question that the annulment of petitioner's marriage with
respondent Yco on the grounds relied upon in the complaint filed in the Court of First Instance of
Pampanga is within the jurisdiction of said court.




Quiambao vs Osorio 158 SCRA 674
G.R. No. L-48157 March 16, 1988
FERNAN, J .

Facts: Zenaida Gaza Buensucero, Justina Gaza Bernardo and Felipe Gaza filed a complaint for
forcible entry against Ricardo Quiambao. The respondents asserted that they were the legitimate
possessors of a 30,835 sq. m. lot known as Lot No. 4, Block 12, Bca 2039 of the Longos Estate
situated at Barrio Longos, Malabon Rizal, by virtue of the Agreement to Sell No. 3482 executed
in their favor by the former Land Tenure Administration. Quiambao then surreptitiously and by
force, intimidation, strategy and stealth, entered into a 400 sq. m. portion thereof, placed bamboo
posts "staka" over said portion and thereafter began the construction of a house.

Quiambao filed a motion to dismiss the complaint averring that the Agreement upon which
private respondents base their prior possession over the questioned lot had already been
cancelled by the Land Authority in an Order signed by its Governor, Conrado Estrella. He
asserted that his administrative case was determinative of private respondents' right to eject
petitioner from the lot in question.

Issue: Whether or not the administrative case between the private parties involving the lot
subject matter of the ejectment case constitutes a prejudicial question which bars a judicial action
until after its termination.

Ruling: A prejudicial question is understood in law to be that which arises in a case the
resolution of which is a logical antecedent of the issue involved in said case and the cognizance
of which pertains to another tribunal. The essential elements of a prejudicial question as provided
under Section 5, Rule 111 of the Revised Rules of Court are: [a] the civil action involves an issue
similar or intimately related to the issue in the criminal action; and [b] the resolution of such
issue determines whether or not the criminal action may proceed.

In the case at bar, being respectively civil and administrative in character, obviously, there is no
prejudicial question involved. Equally apparent, however, is the intimate correlation between
said two [2] proceedings, stemming from the fact that the right of private respondents to eject
petitioner from the disputed portion depends primarily on the resolution of the pending
administrative case. Furthermore, to allow the parties to undergo trial notwithstanding the
possibility of petitioner's right of possession being upheld in the pending administrative case is to
needlessly require not only the parties but the court as well to expend time, effort and money in
what may turn out to be a sheer exercise in futility.
Bobis vs Bobis 336 SCRA 747
G.R. No. 138509 July 31, 2000
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J .

Facts: Isagani Bobis contracted his first marriage with one Maria Dulce B. Javier 1985. Without
said marriage having been annulled, nullified or terminated, he contracted a second marriage
with petitioner Imelda Marbella-Bobis inn January 25, 1996 and allegedly a third marriage with
a certain Julia Sally Hernandez. Imelda filed a criminal case of bigamy against Isagani.
Sometime thereafter, respondent initiated a civil action for the judicial declaration of absolute
nullity of his first marriage on the ground that it was celebrated without a marriage license.
Respondent then filed a motion to suspend the proceedings in the criminal case for bigamy
invoking the pending civil case for nullity of the first marriage as a prejudicial question to the
criminal case.

The trial judge granted the motion to suspend the criminal case in an Order dated December 29,
1998. Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration, but the same was denied.

Hence, this petition for review on certiorari

Issue: Whether or not the subsequent filing of a civil action for declaration of nullity of a
previous marriage constitutes a prejudicial question to a criminal case for bigamy.

Ruling: It is not a prejudicial question.

A prejudicial question is a question based on a fact distinct and separate from the crime but so
intimately connected with it that it determines the guilt or innocence of the accused. A
prejudicial question does not conclusively resolve the guilt or innocence of the accused but
simply tests the sufficiency of the allegations in the information in order to sustain the further
prosecution of the criminal case.

In the case at bar, respondent's clear intent is to obtain a judicial declaration of nullity of his first
marriage and thereafter to invoke that very same judgment to prevent his prosecution for bigamy.
He cannot have his cake and eat it too. Otherwise, all that an adventurous bigamist has to do is to
disregard Article 40 of the Family Code, contract a subsequent marriage and escape a bigamy
charge by simply claiming that the first marriage is void and that the subsequent marriage is
equally void for lack of a prior judicial declaration of nullity of the first.

Furthermore, in a recent case for concubinage, the Court held that the pendency of a civil case
for declaration of nullity of marriage is not a prejudicial question. This ruling applies here by
analogy since both crimes presuppose the subsistence of a marriage. Thus, a decision in the civil
case is not essential to the determination of the criminal charge.
Beltran vs People 334 SCRA 106
G.R. No. 137567 June 20, 2000
BUENA, J .

Facts: Meynardo Beltran was married to Charmaine Felix in 1973. In 1997, Beltran filed a
petition for nullity of marriage on the ground of psychological incapacity under Article 36 of the
Family Code. Charmaine Felix claimed that it was petitioner who abandoned the conjugal home
and lived with Milagros Salting. Then, Charmaine filed a criminal complaint for concubinage
under Article 334 of the Revised Penal Code against Beltran and the alleged paramour, Milagros.

Beltran contended that the pendency of the civil case for declaration of nullity of his marriage
posed a prejudicial question to the determination of the criminal case filed by his wife. The lower
court denied Beltrans petition. Then elevated his case to the Supreme Court.

Issue: Whether or not the pendency of the case for declaration of nullity of petitioner's marriage
is a prejudicial question to the concubinage case.

Ruling: The Court held that the pendency of the case for declaration of nullity of petitioner's
marriage is not a prejudicial question to the concubinage case.

The rationale behind the principle of prejudicial question is to avoid two conflicting decisions. It
has two essential elements: (a) the civil action involves an issue similar or intimately related to
the issue raised in the criminal action; and (b) the resolution of such issue determines whether or
not the criminal action may proceed.

For a civil case to be considered prejudicial to a criminal action as to cause the suspension of the
latter pending the final determination of the civil case, it must appear not only that the said civil
case involves the same facts upon which the criminal prosecution would be based, but also that
in the resolution of the issue or issues raised in the aforesaid civil action, the guilt or innocence
of the accused would necessarily be determined.

In relation to Beltran's argument that he could be acquitted of the charge of concubinage should
his marriage be declared null and void, suffice it to state that even a subsequent pronouncement
that his marriage is void from the beginning is not a defense. Therefore, the lower court has not
erred in affirming the Orders of the judge of the Metropolitan Trial Court ruling that pendency of
a civil action for nullity of marriage does not pose a prejudicial question in a criminal case for
concubinage.
Te vs Court of Appeals 346 SCRA 327
G.R. No. 126746 November 29, 2000
KAPUNAN, J .

Facts: Arthur Te and private respondent Liliana Choa were married in civil rights on September
14, 1988. They did not live together after the marriage although they would meet each other
regularly. On April 21, 1989, Choa gave birth to a baby girl and not long after, Te stopped
visiting her. On May 20, 1990, Te entered into a subsequent marriage with Julieta Santella while
his first marriage was subsisting. When Choa found out about the second marriage of his
husband, she filed a case of bigamy against the latter. Choa filed an administrative case against
his husband for the revocation of his engineering license.

In the meantime, Te filed an action for the annulment of his marriage to private respondent on
the ground that he was forced to marry her. He also contended that Choa concealed her
pregnancy by another man at the time of their marriage and that she was psychologically
incapacitated to perform her essential marital obligations. Te also filed with the Board of Civil
Engineering of the PRC (PRC Board) a motion to suspend the proceedings therein in view of the
pendency of the civil case for annulment of his marriage to private respondent and criminal case
for bigamy. The Board denied the said petition. Te claimed, among others, that the resolution of
the annulment case is prejudicial to the outcome of the administrative case pending before it.

Issue: Whether or not a prejudicial question existed being that the action sought to be suspended
is administrative in nature and the other action involved is a civil case.

Ruling: A prejudicial question has been defined as one based on a fact distinct and separate from
the crime but so intimately connected with it that it determines the guilt or innocence of the
accused, and for it to suspend the criminal action, it must appear not only that said case involves
facts intimately related to those upon which the criminal prosecution would be based but also
that in the resolution of the issue or issues raised in the civil case, the guilt or innocence of the
accused would necessarily be determined.

The Court of Appeals did not err when it ruled that the pendency of the civil case for annulment
of marriage filed by petitioner against private respondent did not pose a prejudicial question
which would necessitate that the criminal case for bigamy be suspended until said civil case is
terminated. The outcome of the civil case for annulment of petitioners marriage to private
respondent had no bearing upon the determination of petitioners innocence or guilt in the
criminal case for bigamy, because all that is required for the charge of bigamy to prosper is that
the first marriage be subsisting at the time the second marriage is contracted.

The concept of prejudicial question involves a civil and a criminal case. We have previously
ruled that there is no prejudicial question where one case is administrative and the other is
civil.